Two things.

1.  You badly distort in your email below what Sam Anderson wrote.  Sam wrote:

"But what is coming is going to be far worse for the masses of Libyans because these folks are going to put the entire nation up for sale in a period where the Western Capitalist are in desperate need of supercheap human and natural resources. The Libyan progressive forces are NOT going to be part of the mix because of the collapse of any form of a global organized Left Force to act as a deterrent or counterforce to Western Capital."

You change that to:

"Sam shows his contempt for the Libyan people by declaring that they are now sure to sell out to Western interests;"

This is not what Sam wrote but a manipulation of it.  Sam's "these folks" is about the leadership of the opposition in Libya selling out the Libyan people.  I have no idea if Sam is right.  I hope not actually, but who knows.  You certainly do not know the future either.

2.  I am waiting for you to: "Reproduce my earlier email that insisted that no one on the list takes the position of supporting Qaddafi.  If you do that I will admit I am wrong.  If you cannot do that, then stop mentioning me with anything that I have not written about and stop instructing me on what not to say."

From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2011 06:02:29 +0200
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: The Great Tripoli Uprising

A few people here are so fixated on the role of NATO that they have failed to appreciate that Libya has been subject to a popular uprising all these months, and that this popular uprising--which began in Tripoli--is now coming to full fruition as that city rises up once again. So, sadly, Sam shows his contempt for the Libyan people by declaring that they are now sure to sell out to Western interests; and George claims that support for the Libyan rebels reflects a "New York Times" mentality. I am happy to predict that most leftists and socialists will welcome the Libyan revolution as a necessary step towards the liberation of that nation's people from a decades-long dictatorship, just as the overthrow of regimes in Tunisia and Egypt were necessary first steps. Perhaps the peoples of those countries will have to go through a long phase of "bourgeois democracy" before they create the workers' states that some here think are the only legitimate alternatives to despotism, or perhaps Islamic fundamentalists will gain in influence for a period of time; but that is for them to decide, not us.

(Since Juan Cole wrote the text below, things have moved on considerably, of course.)



The Great Tripoli Uprising

Posted on 08/21/2011 by Juan

As dawn broke Sunday in Libya, revolutionaries were telling Aljazeera Arabic that much of the capital was being taken over by supporters of the February 17 Youth revolt. Some areas, such as the suburb of Tajoura to the east and districts in the eastrn part of the city such as Suq al-Juma, Arada, the Mitiga airport, Ben Ashour, Fashloum, and Dahra, were in whole or in part under the control of the revolutionaries.

Those who were expecting a long, hard slog of fighters from the Western Mountain region and from Misrata toward the capital over-estimated dictator Muammar Qaddafi’s popularity in his own capital, and did not reckon with the severe shortages of ammunition and fuel afflicting his demoralized security forces, whether the regular army or mercenaries. Nor did they take into account the steady NATO attrition of his armor and other heavy weapons.

This development, with the capital creating its own nationalist mythos of revolutionary participation, is the very best thing that could have happened. Instead of being liberated (and somewhat subjected) from the outside by Berber or Cyrenaican revolutionaries, Tripoli enters the Second Republic with its own uprising to its name, as a full equal able to gain seats on the Transitional National Council once the Qaddafis and their henchmen are out of the way. There will be no East/West divide. My hopes for a government of national unity as the last phase of the revolution before parliamentary elections now seem more plausible than ever. Tellingly, Tunisia and Egypt both recognized the TNC as Libya’s legitimate government through the night, as the Tripoli uprising unfolded. Regional powers can see the new Libya being born.

The underground network of revolutionaries in the capital, who had been violently repressed by Qaddafi’s security forces last March, appear to have planned the uprising on hearing of the fall of Zawiya and Zlitan. It is Ramadan, so people in Tripoli are fasting during the day, breaking their fast at sunset. Immediately after they ate their meal, the callers to prayer or muezzins mounted the minarets of the mosques and began calling out, “Allahu Akbar,” (God is most Great), as a signal to begin the uprising. (Intrestingly, this tactic is similar to that used by the Green movement for democracy in Iran in 2009).

Working class districts in the east were the first to rise up. Apparently revolutionaries have been smuggling in weapons to the capital and finding a way to practice with them. Tajoura, a few kilometers from Tripoli to the east, mounted a successful attack on the Qaddafi forces in the working class suburb, driving them off. At one point the government troops fired rockets at the protesting crowds, killing 122 persons. But it was a futile piece of barbarity, followed by complete defeat of Qaddafi forces. Eyewitness Asil al-Tajuri told Aljazeera Arabic by telephone that the revolutionaries in Tajoura captured 6 government troops, and that they freed 500 prisoners from the Hamidiya penitentiary. The Tajoura popular forces also captured the Muitiqa military base in the suburb and stormed the residence of Mansur Daw, the head of security forces in Tripoli.

The revolt in the eastern working-class district of Suq al-Juma appears to have begun before the others, on Saturday. All through Saturday Qaddafi security forces attempted to put it down, but they failed and in the end had to flee.


Tripoli Districts controlled by Revolutionaries early Sunday morning Libya Time

Qaddafi released an audio address in which he made his usual fantasy-land observations, said real Libyans liked to kiss pictures of his head, and called the revolutionaries rats and agents of imperial France. It was an incoherent, rambling, disgraceful performance, and was likely among the last such.

At one point an Aljazeera Arabic correspondent was able to get the frequency of the security forces and we overheard them fretting that they were running low on ammunition and fuel for their riposte to the revolutionaries’ advance.

For a map of the fighting, see here.

By 8 am Sunday morning Libya time, fighters from Nalut and elsewhere in the Western Mountain region had begun coming into Tripoli to give aid to the people who made the uprising. The revolutionaries’ advance into the capital is entitled “Operation Mermaid Dawn.”

One way or another, it seems clear that the Libyan Revolution has entered its last phase, and that this phase could well end abruptly in the next days. If Qaddafi’s own capital is so eager to be rid of him, his support is much thinner than many observers had assumed. His troops in Zawiya and elsewhere are increasingly refusing to engage in hand to hand combat, running away when the revolutionaries show up, and at most sitting in a truck and bombarding the revolutionaries from a distance (but thereby making themselves targets of NATO war planes and helicopters). The esprit de corps of the revolutionaries is, in contrast, high.

 0Retweet 5Share 164StumbleUpon0Printer Friendly 

Michael Balter
Contributing Correspondent, Science
Adjunct Professor of Journalism,
New York University

Email:  [log in to unmask]
Web:    michaelbalter.com
NYU:    journalism.nyu.edu/faculty/michael-balter/

“Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof."
                                                  --John Kenneth Galbraith